With so many Close Protection training providers to choose from the choices can be overwhelming and confusing. With prices ranging from £900 to over £5000 and course length anywhere between 12 to 26 days what exactly should you look for in a training provider?
The first thing you should realize is that although all courses lead to a Level 3 qualification in Close Protection, not all courses are the same. There is a vast range of difference in quality of instructors, available facilities, course content and potential for future employment.
The 3 basic questions I would put to any training provider (and the answers I would expect) are:
1. Q. What is the background/experience of the instructors?
A. Firstly don’t be misled by claims that all staff are ex SAS/SBS/Underwater knife fighters. There is a world of difference between commercial Close Protection and that offered by the military. I have upmost respect for SF operators, some teach on our courses, however they are employed because of their commercial experience and instructional skill rather than their soldiering skills. Contrary to popular belief there are very few transferable skills to bring from the military into Close Protection.
Instead you should be looking for instructors who have a wealth of CP experience working in a range of environments. I don’t mean they have stood backstage at a concert and escorted the talent to the green room, or have walked Simon Cowell from his car to the X factor studio. I mean instructors who have worked on real CP teams as team leaders, operating across the world, taking care of travel arrangements, risk assessment, planning, protocol, executive facilitation and liaison. These are skills you need to learn and you need to know that your instructor has excelled at them in the real world.
If your training providers website is littered with pictures of the company owner/training team with their arms draped around various B list celebrities then I would very much question their professionalism, personal standards and level of discretion…and these are people who want to train you.
2. Q. What facilities are available
A. It is relatively easy to set up a CP course in a hotel room, backroom of a pub or office on a trading estate, however this is a highly practical role and your training needs to reflect that. It is important that your training provider can get you out of the classroom, away from PowerPoint and on the ground practicing your skills.
If you are practicing your walking drills in a hotel car park with curtains twitching as other guests enjoy the show, or setting up 4 chairs in a classroom to simulate a car for your embus debus drills then I put it to you that you are being short changed and not getting a realistic or effective training experience.
Any training provider worth their salt should have access to private land, vehicles and equipment that will allow you practice, train, make mistakes and perfect your skills in a realistic environment.
3. Q. Does the course really go beyond the basic SIA criteria?
A. For some time now people have been agreeing that the basic modules required by the SIA are insufficient for this highly specialist role. In order to market courses most training providers will claim that they go above and beyond the SIA ctiteria. Most are lying.
All CP courses must contain at least 140 guided learning hours in order to be compliant with the SIA and the awarding bodies. That’s 140 hours of you being taught CP stuff or engaging in CP exercises. It doesn’t include first aid, unarmed combat, weapons handling or anything else that falls outside the SIA modules. Therefore any training provider who runs a 14 day course must be working you for 10 hours a day on the basic SIA criteria. This in itself is a fairly unrealistic proposition, however if they are then claiming to go above and beyond the SIA criteria you need to ask yourself HOW and WHEN. A day of unarmed combat in your 14 day course means that they should then be working you for 11 hours a day for the remaining 13 days. If your last day consists of taking an exam and a bit of generic advice on CV writing before getting an early finish, then again you need to question if you have received you full 140 hours of LEARNING in that 14 day course.
These are fundamental questions that will set training providers apart and should help you choose your Close Protection course.
This is a specialist and potentially dangerous job, ensure you start your career in the right way by choosing a quality training provider, setting high standards for yourself and learning your trade from the very best instructors available. This will pay dividends when it comes to finding work, and more importantly keeping your principal safe.
Galahad Associates are a specialist security and training company formed by former Royal Marines who all have extensive experience in commercial Close Protection. This means that our instructors are working CPOs who have relevant and current experience.
As well as our operational activities we also run high end training packages from our 100 acre facility near Poole. This training area is without question one of the best available in the UK outside of military establishments and allows us to provide a high level of realistic training.
Our flagship course is the Close Protection Operators course. Running over 26 full days and comprising of over 240 hours of training, this is the only course for those who are truly committed to achieving their goals in the world of commercial Close Protection.
The Close Protection Operators course is an intensive training package that introduces all of the skills needed to operate effectively in a range of environments. Whether you are looking after a Saudi family in Beverly Hills, an American oil worker in Caracas or a Russian billionaire in London.
This course was designed in response to the consensus amongst industry professionals and employers, that the average SIA close protection courses currently being offered fail to meet the standards required for this highly specialised and demanding role.
The Galahad course naturally covers all of the modules required for the application of an SIA licence, however that isn’t our primary aim, instead we strive to produce skilled operators who can provide effective Close Protection worldwide, regardless of the location, threat level or profile of the principal.
The SIA modules we cover are:
• Session 1: Roles and Responsibilities of the Close Protection Operative
• Session 2: Threat and Risk Assessment
• Session 3: Surveillance Awareness
• Session 4: Operational Planning
• Session 5: Law and Legislation
• Session 6: Interpersonal Skills
• Session 7: Close Protection Teamwork and Briefing
• Session 8: Conduct Reconnaissance
• Session 9: Close Protection Foot Drills
• Session 10: Route Selection
• Session 11: Close Protection Journey Management
• Session 12: Search Procedures
• Session 13: Incident Management
• Session 14: Venue Security
In addition to the basic SIA modules which any accredited CP must cover, we also include the following essential skills:
In-depth covert surveillance package
Quality counter and anti surveillance skills are the best defence a CPO has against hostile threats. The level of surveillance training on our CP course is so in depth it leads to the award of a level 3 qualification. This not only improves your skill and employability as a CPO but also opens up potential employment opportunities in covert surveillance.
Hostile environment awareness package
A hostile environment is anywhere that has high crime rates, limited infrastructure or is prone to natural disaster. As a CPO you should be confident to operate any where in world. Therefore subjects covered in this phase include CP weapons handling, off-road driving, reaction to kidnap, reaction to car-jacking, armoured convoy drills and reaction to armed attack.
High Threat Medic
The First Person on Scene (FPOS-I) medical qualification is fast becoming the standard required by most employers and clients. We include a highly practical and security specific medical package as part of the CP course that leads to this qualification.
Unarmed combat and physical intervention
Believe it or not the SIA and many training providers see no need to include these skills in a CP course. At Galahad we believe in training for the worst case scenario and therefore we provide in-depth physical training as well as armed and unarmed combat during the course.
Celebrity Protection Skills
Essential for anyone wishing to find work within the world of celebrity protection. This phase explores the particular skills needed to deal with high maintenance principals, pushy paparazzi and over zealous fans.
International travel planning
Learning how to move your principal internationally using a range of travel options including private aircraft and super yachts
Anti-Ambush and protective driving
An exciting part of the course that looks at protective and convoy driving skills, and reaction to vehicle ambush in a range of scenarios, from single soft skinned vehicles to multiple armoured cars.
On successful completion of the course you will be awarded the following qualifications:
Level 3 Certificate in Close Protection Operations
Level 3 Award in Covert surveillance
Level 2 Award First Person on Scene Intermediate
GA Protective Driving certificate
GA HE Awareness Certificate
The full 26-day course including FPOS-I costs £3100 including VAT
The 21-day course excluding the FPOS-I costs £2600 including VAT
All meals and accommodation can be added for just £35 per night for a single room taking the cost up to £3900.00 for the 26 day course.
To view a short promo video of some aspects of the course that showcases our 100 acre facility, please follow the link below:
The next Galahad Associates CP course starts on February 3rd. For more information on this or any of our other courses please call on 01202 788555 or click here